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tv   Capital News Today  CSPAN  September 16, 2009 11:00pm-2:00am EDT

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they have required that most prosecution would be in federal courts and not a military commission. the presumption is that they would be in federal courts and not military commissions. is there significant difference between the standards of a military tribunal and a federal court prosecution? >> i do believe there is a great deal of prosecution about this. >> there may well be. is there a difference between a military commission and a trial in the united states district court? >> there may be. >> yes, there is.
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if you are going to try it in a federal court, aren't you retired -- required to show the rules of evidence? >> yes. . . t are enforced in that court? >> yes. >> if you are going to bring a witness in who confessed to a military interrogation and try to try them in federal court and they haven't been mirandaized they haven't been mirandaized and they confess, can't the defense lawyer likely prevail and suppress the confession? >> he would try and likely prevail. >> these cases are going to be tried in federal court, we need to be mirandaizing? >> i don't believe that follows. most of the individuals picked up in afghanistan and iraq have not been mirandized.
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there are occasions, very few occasions where the determination has been made to mirandize somebody to hold out the option to try that person in another court. >> oh, to hold out the option. if you are going to try them in federal court, they should be mirandized, right? >> if you want a particular statement at a particular time, generally that has to be mirandize. >> i think that is correct. >> i agree. >> if you have a presumption these cases are going to be tried in federal court, why wouldn't the rule be pretty normal in the field by military interrogators and others to give miranda warnings? wouldn't it be making a mistake not to? isn't that likely to reduce the amount of intelligence they gather? >> i think you can determine what kind of information the person has regardless of what
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court -- >> who is going to look at it, director mueller? >> the national security council, in terms of is the intelligence more important than holding out the option in federal court, and sitting and looking at that, you would want that option available if it could be available and not to the detriment of gaining the intelligence you need to prevent terrorist attacks. >> i think it gives a lot of pressure to give miranda warnings on many, many cases with the presumption they are going to be pride in federal court and not military commission. this is going to reduce the amount of intelligence obtained on the battlefield that we've never given miranda warnings before in the history of this country of those who are at war against us, and it represents a significant problem. i don't agree with you on that. you can minimize it and we'll
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ask some written questions, but i feel strongly about this. this is an alteration of military efforts, war through civilian prosecution. it's a dangerous trend, in my opinion. >> director mueller, isn't it a fact -- i just want to cut to the chase here. if soldiers on the field, they've been in battle and captured some people, they don't get the miranda warning, do they? >> no. of course not. >> i want that clear. i had letters from people that listen to this hoopla and say how can you capture somebody, give them a miranda warning? my son goes in the marines, you were in the military, of course we don't do that. >> i would say the presumption came into place on july 20th of this year that these cases would
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be tried in federal court and that inevitably required a far large increase of miranda warnings than ever has been done in the history of this republic. >> i might note we have an awful lot that are never going to see a federal court and never be held anywhere else. when you are in a battle and you capture somebody, you don't give a miranda warning. senator cole. >> i believe, sir, if you ask the commanders in the field, in afghanistan or iraq to determine whether or not the issue of whether or not you give miranda warnings is ever interfered with their ability to do their job, they say no. it's important to have the fbi there and fbi expertise there. >> you think the fbi needs to be involved in interrogations in iraq now? >> in some, yes. >> you are going to pick and choose? >> let's hold that for the next round. >> i think this is an important
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issue. >> we have modelled entirely the classical distinction between war -- >> senator sessions, i allowed you to have twice as much time as i took in questions. i want to make sure we have a number of senators who want to have a chance to go. >> i excuse myself to go see what we can help win this war in afghanistan. >> then next to senator grassley and go next to senator fine tine, then we'll go next to senator hatch. senator cole. >> thank you, mr. chairman. first, i would like to thank the fbi for the serial murder string in milwaukee that spanned 20 years. the fbi was instrumental to this investigation resulting in a major arrest, as i'm sure you are aware. on behalf of our chief, our mayor, victims' families and our
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city, we would like to thank you and the fbi. >> thank you, sir. it was a joint effort. i appreciate it. >> thank you so much. as you said in your remarks at the outset, major crime across the country is showing some decrease but seems to be centered in the largest cities across our country. we in wisconsin have experienced the same kind of decrease in milwaukee. it's been major and recognized and very much appreciated. in cities of medium and smaller size around our state, we also have experienced significant increases in major violent crime. for example, in racine, the number went from 95 in 2005 to 106 in 2008 in. madison, the number went from
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391 violent crimes in 2005 to 542 in 2008. in other cities like lacrosse we had similar significant increases in violent crime from 2005 to 2008. as you indicated, it also seems to be a pattern around the country. to what do you attribute it and what are some of the thoughts you have about addressing this serious issue? >> let me just say there may be three things. first is that the quality of policing in cities makes a substantial difference. secondly, i do believe the spread of gangs can have a huge impact in the rise of crime, in particular. cities the ms-13, latin kings, you name those, and to the extent they gain a foothold in a community, and you see crime rising, and lastly, although the vinyl crimes statistics have
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gone down over the last couple of years, i do believe that we will face some resurgence in the future. you have a number of persons being released from prison and in some cases because of the shortage of prison space. you have a number of persons who spent substantial periods of time and been arrested 10, 15, 20 years ago and coming out to an economy where it's difficult to find a job. consequently, i do believe we have to watch this closely. to this end, we are working closely with our state and local counterparts. my belief is always that we do a better job working in task forces. and combining the capabilities and skills of the local police departments and sheriff's offices with the fbi, atf and dea. that maximizes our capabilities of addressing a particular violent crime program in a particular city. >> i appreciate that. what would explain the
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difference between the decrease in violent crime in the major cities around our country, including wisconsin, and smaller to medium-sized communities. >> i'm not sure anybody can put their finger on it. i'm not sure one answer fits all. it may be the quality of policing, it may be the impact of taking out a particularly violent gang in a particular city. it may be a combination of utilizing social services along with the efforts of the federal and state and local law enforcement authorities. i don't think there is one answer. we tend to look at crime and say what is the fix for crime generally in our cities? too often, it is individualized and i do recognize the pattern in our larger cities has gone down more substantially than others. to a certain extent, i think the argument can be made that it is the quality of policing in those particular cities. >> director mueller, in your testimony you emphasize the importance of the fbi's coordination with local law enforcement by maintaining
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regular contact with the officers who are on the street day in and day out, and to work as you indicated, shoulder to shoulder with them. i think we all agree fbi coordination and local law enforcement is a critical component of fighting and preventing crime. for example, fbi agents are currently working with the racine police department to target violent street gangs and drug organizations within that scene. the presence in the community is also important to further principles to policing that have been successful. what are some of the specific programs that the fbi has been working on to achieve this shoulder-to-shoulder coordination? are there any new programs or efforts on the horizon to improve the ones you're using now? >> well, let me -- as i said, the critical programs for us relate to working on task
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forces. let me account, if i could, we have almost 200 violent crime, violent task forces around the country. we have almost 2100 agents working gangs and criminal enterprises which is a substantial number for us. we have a hundred -- no, 17 safe trail task forces that have been set up to address violent crime in indian country. we have 34 child prostitution task forces and working groups and eight major task forces. to the extent that persons are willing to sit down shoulder to shoulder with us and share experience, expertise in task forces directed either at a specific threat like an individual gang or a more generalized threat. we're always open to do that. i believe we're effective when we work closely together when we share the expertise and capabilities in addressing these crimes. >> director mueller, the fbi has
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brought you to law enforcement that impact every american. we count on the fbi to combat mortgage and corporate fraud, health care fraud, international and domestic terrorism, violent crime, crimes against children and border violence, just to name a few. in these tough economic times we're all cautious about stre h spending our money wisely and stretching our dollar if we can. the budget increases slightly every year and your needs and activities seem to grow considerably every year. what has the fbi done to stretch the limited dollars that you have so that the american taxpayer can get the most for their dollar? >> one of the more innovative and useful programs we've had is for several years now we bring in graduates from various business schools around the country. we bring them in as interns and then we bring them in for the fbi. they come out of business school with a desire to make a difference and with expertise in
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areas such as finance procurement and the like. we set them to particular issues. for instance, we had millions of dollars of savings in terms of utilizing rental cars in our rental fleet attributable to the fact that we had a group of individuals that took that particular problem and looked at a better way to do it that would solve millions of dollars and we had a variety of areas throughout the bureau. we have to look at our facilities because we have 56 field offices around the country and more than 400 resident agencies, but we looked at savings in terms of we need the spread, we need to cover the country and we also have to look at savings up there. i call it savings, and fortunately those who look at the federal budget call it cost avoid abs as opposed to savings, but we are continuously driving to save money and be able to utilize those funds in the areas that may be better spent.
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>> thank you so much. thank you, mr. chairman. @ rrá you gave what i would consider to be a legitimate answer. the fbi has provided its input to doj, but the only thing is that the department justice has not responded. in this morning's paper, and regard to the same issue of cooperation between atf and the
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fbi, we are finding the inspector general saying that there are repeated squabbles, feuding over bomb investigations, so it brings me to my first question with you about the article or about questions of the past. first question with you about the article or about questions of the past. i've been asking about fbi and atf relationships for over two years and my last question was submitted, as i said, september 2008. i never received a response. it is completely unacceptable that i get more information from a newspaper article than directly from the department of justice. i'm particularly concerned about this latest news report because committee staff received a briefing from your agency and the atf last year in which they were told, this committee staff was told that the agencies
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understood the jurisdictional problems and that these conflicts had been resolved, hence in raising question about the inspector general's report seemingly refeuding statements that we had in staff briefing. so i want to know what the real story is. could you tell me, please, what is the true state of cooperation between the fbi and atf specifically? have the jurisdictional problems been resolved? i suppose in connection with answering that specific question about jurisdictional problems. can they be resolved? can the current memorandum of understanding be improved in any way? >> we -- first of all, they have not all been resolved as the i.t. points out. there are still issues. a year ago we entered into an mou which addressed a number of the issues in terms of responsibility when one gets to
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a scene. as i think you were a weir, as much as we have a responsibility for terrorism it's important for us. do i believe it's tremendously important for us to be on the scene and utilize our capabilities both domestically ask internationally when there's a possibility of a terrorist event. if it does want turn out to be a terrorist event and falls within the purview of atf then it's appropriate that atf have it. when we last talked a year or so ago, it was our expectation that mou would satisfy that as the i.g. is pointing out. it does not satisfy it because two sides of it are interpreting it different ways and it has to be resolved. i will tell you that our level and the top levels, i think the cooperation is excellent, is good and has been for a year or two. when you get down to the field there are pockets where it is not so good, and i generally think that it is not institutional, but more individual and each of our
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agencies have people that lived more in the past than they should and there is more work to be done as the i.g. pointed out. >> for the taxpayers' benefit, i think they would expect agencies within the same federal government working for the same american population would get along to get done what needs to be done and not waste time that way. >> i can just mention one thing, if i could. if you look at the cooperation we've had, we have jointly investigated any number of places and done it exceptionally well, whether it be oklahoma city or the 1993 bombings in new york. we have had the ability not to get along is the exception in my mind and not necessarily the rule. >> well, if it gets the inspector general's attention, it seems to be still quite a problem. let me go on to another one. in january i co-sponsored the whistle-blower protection enhancement act and legislation
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updating whistle-blower protection for all government employees and it addresses a number of hurdles of good faith whistle blowers face when bringing complaints alleging retaliation for protected whistle blowing. the legislation was marked up to the homeland security committee where a compromised substitute was adopted as an original co-sponsor i was deeply concerned by a provision that was included at the 11th hours which strikes the current whistle-blower protection for fbi employees. that law was passed in 1978 and it wasn't effective until '97 when president clinton issued a memorandum to address whistle-blower protections for fbi. those have provided some basic level of protection for fbi employees now over the years and while not perfect are greater than if the homeland security committee became law. i'm very concerned about this provision striking the existing provisions and have been working
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to determine who authored it. in chasing down where this came from, i've heard a number of different things. some have said the provision came from the white house. others said the intelligence community and others have stated it was done at the request of the fbi. i understand that the committee members and the white house have said this provision will be removed, but i still want to know where and why it came to be. so director mueller, i'm going to ask five questions, but they can be answered shortly. you've repeatedly stated your view that whistle blowers shouldn't face retaliation. first question, do you believe that current whistle-blower protections under section 2303 should be repealed? >> i'm -- i'm not that familiar with the particular statutory numbers. i would have to get back to you on that. >> well, do you have any idea where the provision of repeal came from? >> no. >> did any individual at the fbi have anything to do with drafting the provision?
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>> i don't know. >> would you get back to me on that? >> yes. >> has the fbi provided any comment to the department of justice, white house or other executive agencies regarding repealing the existing fbi whistle-blower protections? >> i don't know. >> get back to me, please. >> yes, sir. >> lastly, will you make -- i hope you will make a commitment to me and this committee that the fbi will not advocate to repeal the existing whistle-blower protections outlined in section 2303 as part of whistle-blower reforms. >> i could do that -- i can't do that now. i would have to look at it. i'm not really familiar with the issue. >> well, you've kept telling me for a long period of time ever since you've been in office and predecessors that you thought whistle-blower protection was important. >> do i. >> -- for the fbi people. >> i would reiterate that whistle-blower protection is important and as we discussed every year i send out an e-mail to persons saying that i will
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not abide, tolerate the retribution. any time i get a claim of whistle-blower status, i send it immediately to the inspector general so that there is no conflict of interest, and i think as i've indicated to you and as has been proven over the years i will not put up with retaliation against whistle blowers. >> on that last point, would you get back whether or not you support modification of 2303 as well as the other two? >> yes, sir. yes, sir. >> does that have to go through the department of justice for you to answer my question on those points? >> yes. yes. >> will they get back to me? you probably don't know because they haven't gotten back to me in over a year on the other one. >> i will join with distinguished senator from iowa to help get those -- >> thank you. i knew you would. >> -- to get those answers because the senator of iowa has been as much a whistle-blower on those issues and i will work
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with you on that. >> thank you. >> director mueller, we have in so many jurisdictions that we've had before, i know one is the intelligence committee. we're fortunate to have members of this committee who, by tradition, also serve on the intelligence committee and we're twice as fortunate to have the chair of the intelligence committee, and i would yield to her now. senator fine stine? >> thank you very much, mr. chairman and welcome, director. it's good to see you again. let me begin by using my capacity as chairman of the intelligence committee to thank you. i've mentioned to you, i think on three prior occasions about intelligence-related reports from the fbi not reaching the committee in a timely way, and i want to tell you they are now reaching the committee in a timely way. so thank you very much for achieving that.
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>> thanks also goes to the department of justice. >> well, maybe that's a precedent that material can flow more quickly. so i thank the department of justice. secondly, the fbi gang assessment indicated that violent gangs are moving from large cities to smaller cities. senator hatch and i have been working on a gang bill for two years now which has stalled because of house objections and the fact that it's got an enforcement portion to it. could the drop in crime have you locked at whether the drop in crime in large cities is related in any way to this movement of gangs to smaller communities? >> i have not looked at that and will. >> would you? >> yes, i will. i have not -- >> thank you very much. from an intelligence point of view, on the subject that senator sessions raised about miranda warnings, it is my understanding that the fbi just
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wants to keep the possibility of miranda warnings on the table so that if you have been involved in an arrest of somebody that is likely to be tried in a federal court, that warning can be given, but the soldiers are not giving miranda warnings nor is there any request for them to do so. is that correct? >> that is true. in fact, we have been, as i say, operating with the military in iraq and afghanistan for a number of years. the military welcomes us and our expertise and it is rare into the occasion when we will give miranda warnings when we are participating in an interrogation on that environment. on the other hand, you may pick up an individual who has been indicted some place and you have the possibility of bringing that person back to the united states to face that indictment for a terrorist act that occurred some time before and at least it ought to be put on the table as to whether or not you wish to mir andize that individual
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before you talk to them. both were -- well, certainly to make a statement admissible in court in the united states, but that does not necessarily exclude that the person will be interviewed for intelligence purposes as opposed to the admiss ability of a statement in the court of the united states. >> thank you. you cleared that up. i think it's helpful. in august i had the opportunity to meet with the batf in los angeles and found it very interesting, and later during that period of time i saw this quote from dewey webb, the chief of the atf office in houston saying that at least a dozen women in the past two years have surfaced in federal gun trafficking cases as the suspect or cooperating witnesses in houston and south texas. essentially women with no criminal history, he asserted, were being used to be buyers of
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high-powered weapons and then giving those weapons to relatives or to smugglers to bring them into mexico. what do you know about this and what is being done about it? >> it's principally a purview, as you point out, of atf, but over the years a person who wants straw buyers will use women or others without any criminal background, and often it's not something new. it's been there for any number of years. often, whether it be a woman or a man who is a straw buyer, is the avenue you have to breaking down the ream -- the ring and getting the cooperation you need to investigate successfully and to -- and to incarcerate the individuals who are responsible. it's a phenomenon that's been there for a period of time. >> well, perhaps we can discuss
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that more fully at another time. >> yes, ma'am. >> but, you know, i know high concern of the mexican government is the massive importation of guns from the united states into mexico. big guns, too, and we have to talk about that. i like to talk about the roving wiretaps. this is an issue where two committees have jurisdiction and but the judiciary committee and the intelligence committee, and i spoke with senator leahy yesterday who indicated we would like to go work together if possible so that we do not get into battles, referrals, and that kind of thing. it was my thinking simply to extend those three provisions until the patriot act is up for reauthorization, three years hence.
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i believe senator leahy will submit a bill that has some other things as well. i have just received a copy of a letter, directed to me and the vice-chairman of intelligence, dated september 14 by the justice department, saying that they are in full support of reauthorization of all three provisions. and if there were some ideas for changes, they would be happy to discuss them. the letter is signed by ron, and it is a rather forceful case. it is for continuation. i would like to ask you if you would discuss your use of those three provisions and their relevance today in the continuing concerns about
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terrorist infiltrated our country. >> let me start by saying i hope you reinforce each other. again, these three provisions. >> we will work out. -- we will work it out. >> the -- first of all, the business records 215. between 2004 and 2009 we've used that more than 250 times. i make the point that that provision is used with that approval of the fisa court in the business records that are sought there, they relate, not all of the time and almost solely the terrorist investigations with the records that we received are absolutely essential to identifying other persons who may be involved in terrorist activities. >> involving a foreign
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terrorist. involving someone who is a foreign terrorist. >> so you're prepared to say that there is no domestic exclusivity, but that this relates to a foreign terrorist. >> it relates to the agent of a foreign power. an agent in the fisa statute. so each one would. >> yes. my understanding is that 215 relates -- >> it does and it is being used that way? >> yes. i'm just checking to make sure. yes. >> can we -- >> do you want to ask a question? >> if he can just finish. on the lone wolf provision and the roving wiretaps. >> roving wiretaps we used approximately 140 times over those same years and it was tremendously important. with the new technology it is nothing to buy four or five cell phones at the same time and use them to avoid coverage, and the roving wiretaps are used in those circumstances where we
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make a case that will happen and we have approval for it. it's essential given the technology and the growth of technology that we've had. as to the lone wolf, that has not been used yet, but my belief is it needs to be there when we have an individual such as moussaoui who when we need to go up and get a fisa warning and get a search and cannot identify specifically with specificity a particular foreign power, that is a particular terrorist organization that he belongs to, but we narrow the need to as they say in had lone wolf context, go to the fisa court and say, okay. this is a lone wolf. we can't put a tie to this particular terrorist group, but here are the reason why we need to go up to this particular individual. >> thank you, mr. chairman, for allowing him to answer. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank you, director
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mueller -- mueller, for the great service you've given this country after all these years. all i can say is you're one of the heroes in this country and so are all of those fbi personnel people who really protect us throughout all these years. i just want to tell you i sure appreciate you, but i was relieved when the census bureau chose to terminate its relationship with the association of community organizations for reform now commonly known as a.c.o.r.n. i'm deeply troubled concerning that organization and many other controversy, too, the disturbing behavior of a.c.o.r.n. employees was captured on video in a.c.o.r.n. offices in brooklyn, new york, baltimore, maryland, washington, d.c., and san bernardino, california, giving guidance on criminal activity. the filmmaker posting as a
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prostitution ringleader entered a.c.o.r.n.'s offices and how to maintain his enterprise and received tax credits for doing so. i was shocked what this advice included and among other things how to launder profits from an alleged prostitution ring that was going to involve underaged girls. during the meeting, a.c.o.r.n. representatives were informed that the girls were smuggled in to the united states for the purpose of sex trafficking and a.c.o.r.n. employees were told by the film maker that the reason for obtaining the residence was to establish a brothel that would house these underaged girls. consistent among all these a.c.o.r.n. offices was to lie to law enforcement, conceal the profits and ensure that any of the underaged girls involved in the prostitution ring, do not talk to law enforcement. one a.c.o.r.n. employee in baltimore, told the ring leader that, quote, girls under 16 don't exist, and make sure they
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keep their mouth shut, unquote. this heinous criminal activity is usually carried out by organized crime families. however it appears that a.c.o.r.n. who has offices in 41 cities nationwide are caught running a sex slavery ring, money laundering or even mortgage fraud. this was not random and the consistency of the advice indicates that this system is system attic and widespread within a.c.o.r.n. the complicit behavior of a.c.o.r.n. employees offering to assist persons engaging in sex trafficking is egregious behavior. can you tell me if you've been made aware of all these issues and if the fbi field offices in washington and new york are examining these incidents? >> think the first time i heard of these incidents to which you refer was last evening and beyond that, i do not know where
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we are, clearly, given what you have said it's something in consultation with the department of justis that we would look at. >> that's what i've been led to believe and i would sure appreciate it if you'd look at that time and do something about it. now last month the white house and the attorney general announced the formation of a new working group, comprised of federal law enforcement and intelligence personnel for the sole purpose of interrogating high-value detainees. this has been referred to as the hig. you're familiar with that? >> yes, sir. according to both the white house and the attorney general, the hig will be housed inside the fbi. senior fbi official will be in charge of the hig. >> yes. >> however the administration has stressed that the hig will not be a sub-unit of the fbi or doj. now that point by the administration does not shed light on who the hig will report to, either the fbi or the
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national security council. if the ultimate goal of the administration is to prosecute high-value detainees in article 3 courts, the development of evidence will be key to the government's case. what i have reservations about is evidence that was developed by the intelligence community. for instance, in some cases the government may not be willing or able to produce the source of the evidence in court. furthermore, the evidence may be the fruit of information obtained by foreign intelligence or foreign investigations. this information could lead investigators down the line of questioning during an interrogation that they would have to explain in court. if trying these cases in federal criminal courts is ultimate goal, what solution does the fbi propose to address hearsay evidence exclusions. and just one follow up question,
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will the fbi implement a policy to have it a miranda warning. are they currently mir andizing detainees? >> i think at the heart of the issue the prosecution is not the limited goal of every interrogation. >> sure. it may well be intelligence gathering, but by the same token you should not avoid the possibility that you may be able to obtain evidence that would result in a prosecution and consequently, the effort is to look at an individual and determine what is the evidence you have on him. is the evidence as missible into a courtroom? is it coming from sources that is problematic even though the reasons you said it would come from a source or method that may be disclosed or may have come from a foreign country, but tie that together and say what do we have on this individual? first, how does it tie together
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to maximize our ability to interrogate that individual? and the information that you need to effectively interrogate an individual may welcome from law enforcement sources or it may welcome from intelligence sources, but the person doing the interrogation should have that information in front of them and in unique cases, these are high-value targets and as i said before, maybe someone who has been indicted before at least have the option of given miranda warnings where it's appropriate and it would help the prosecution and not to the detriment of gathering intelligence. so the group, the units are a combination of intelligence and law enforcement, fbi, and intelligence in terms of cia and in terms of dia with the combined expertise that we can more effectively do it and make sure we have the intelligence on the table. the other thing that we have in this country and many countries do not have is the procedures act which enables us as what
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happened with mousse sowy and other cases to successfully troy individuals while still protecting information that may have come from overseas. >> well, thank you, mr. chairman, my time is up and i'll submit the rest of my questions. i'll just submit the rest of my questions. >> we are going to be having votes and what i'll try to do is keep the scoring and people take turns going there and senator feingold, and it will be senator cou coughman and they had the rest of the list here. senator feingold, senator schumer. senator feingold? >> let me begin. director, nice to see you again. i would like to first address about the violent crime in wisconsin, the overall trend of violent crime is being
quote quote quote
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decreasing is, of course, heartening, but i urge you to continue to work closely with state and local law enforcement on these issues. director, as to the patriot act, three provisions of the patriot act expires, we know, at the end of year. critical information about their implementation has not been made public. information that i think would have a significant impact on the debate. during the debate on the protect america act in the fisa act of 2007 and 2008 i felt a critical legal and factual information unnamed to the public and information to congress, information critical to the debate might have made a difference in the way some people voted. during the last patriot act reauthorization debate, a great deal of information remained classified and this time around we have to try to have an open and honest debate about the nature of these government powers while, of course, protecting national security secrets. i've raised this repeatedly, as you know, the administration officials over the past couple
quote quote quote
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of years. most recently in june, in a classified letter also signed by leahy, durbin, and white house. i appreciate that the justice department in a letter this week made public for the first time that the lone wolf authority as you just confirmed, one of these three provisions have never been used and that's a key start since this is a key fact as we consider extending that power, but there's also information about the use of section 215 orders that i believe congress and the american people deserve to know. i realize that you're not the sole person to make this decision, but i'm asking you today for your commitment to advocate to finding a way to find some limited information to become public so we could have a real debate about this. would you make that commitment? >> i don't think i can because there's inevitable tension between -- particularly when it comes to national security, keeping the information
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classified because to do -- not to do so would harm our national security. on the other hand, i understand what you're saying in terms of what you learned on the intelligence committee would be useful in the debate on the floor and there is a tension, but i do believe that the information provided to the intelligence committee in a classified setting is appropriately provided to the intelligence committee in the classified setting and while there is that tension there, i cannot give you the commitment that i would advocate for releasing more information than we have in the past. >> well, i hop you have to release the information that the senator leahy provision has never been used. i hope that you would reconsider that. it does not come close to providing the kind of information about the use of the authority that would be meaningful for public debate. >> that may be where we disagree.
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>> i feel as strongly as anybody in this country about keeping things secret that have to be kept secret. my feeling and understanding about that has been teased -- increased greatly, but i think that there is a way to do this and i hope you will work with us and consider appropriate disclosures that is not harmful to our country and allows us to have a real debate. >> i would with appropriate information, yes. >> the gatt provisions, as the fbi changed its procedures for a gag procedures to identify problems, and as it made these changes nationwide or is it just changing the state's? dollars let me check. we made the chase -- we made the change across the country.
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>> the implications for those ordered with the 215 orders as well. has the fbi made any change to these procedures as a result of the second circuit court's decision? these procedures as a result of the second circuit's decision? >> not in that venue. we disagree with the application of the second circuit opinion to these other procedures. >> we'll take that up in the future, then, but appreciate the answer. as senator leahy mentioned last year the doj inspector general issued the reports of the fbi's use of the national security letters in the patriot act. in light of the reauthorization process, i want to follow up on a particularly troubling incident discussed in one of these reports. the i.g. said that the fbi issued nsls to obtain financial records in an investigation, after the fisa court had twice
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refused to approve section 215 orders in the same investigation because of first amendment problems. so this obviously is concerned about how seriously the fbi takes first amendment issues in the course of the investigation. do you think it was appropriate for the fbi to seek information using nsls and investigative tool that do not require approvals to get around the fisa court refusal to apply a section 215 order. >> i'm not familiar with this instance. quite clearly, in the way you have characterized it in terms of judge shopping or process shopping. i'm not certain that's appropriate, but i'm not familiar with the incident and i would have to get back to you. >> the report was issued a year and a half ago. has the fbi taken any action to ensure this doesn't happen again? i have to -- there are a number of issues we looked at in the wake of two to three i.g. reports and on this one i just -- i can't give you a
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specific answer at this time. >> i look forward to hearing from you. you've been responsive to my requests in the past. so i look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible. i would like to ask you finally about rolling fisa wiretaps, one of the provisions due to sunset. i never objected to granting this authority to the fbi. my concern is with a lot of patriot act provisions were that adequate safeguards weren't included. however in the rolling wiretap statute there's a phone that kept be wiretapped that hasn't been expressly approve pied a judge, it must be presumed that the target of the surveillance is nearby. it helps ensure that the fbi doesn't tap the wrong phone or computer being used by an entirely innocent american. why not include a similar requirement for the fisa rolling taps? >> it is my understanding and, again, i haven't looked at that time in a while that we're required to show that the
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individual be using many phones in order to get the approval for that particular provision. it seems to me that that satisfies the due process, the constitutional requirements and is adequate. to prove more would mean that we would be going back to the judges day in and day out in this day where cell phones are throwaway cell phones. given the technology now, in many places as we've seen in the debate on phis a the statutes do not keep up with the technology. in drafting and adding another requirement, it will inhibit our ability to swiftly track those individuals they're seeking to avoid surveillance and counter surveillance. >> is that a consequence? >> a criminal rule is -- you asked my opinion, it's too restrictive. it's too restrictive. >> fair answer. >> we would be far more
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effective on criminals if we went back to work on title three. it's been in the books for any number of years. technology has changed dramatically. >> well, i'm just going go to the next senator. >> senator franken? >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you, mr. director. first of all, director mueller, i want to thank you for providing me with briefings on somali individuals from minnesota who returned to somalia to join extremists. i am very happy that you're on the ground in the twin cities. obviously, these individuals are a rare exception within the somali community in minnesota which is a patriotic and hardworking and important part of our state. one of the things that makes this country special is we're a melting pot and we have people with the cultural background and skills that we need for these
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investigations. how is the fbi doing on this front? do we have enough arabic-speaking translators, for example for terror investigations? >> we -- i can't say we're doing as well as i would like. we have almost doubled our capability since september 11th, but that was a small capability to begin with. when it comes to somali speakers or pashtu or others where there are various clan dialects it becomes more problematic. we've had substantial outreach programs since september 11th in trying to attract those who have those capabilities both in terms of providing, translating and -- translating capability, but also as agents to be able to operate. we're not where we want to be. it's tremendously difficult, but we have done everything we possibly can to encourage, recruit and bring in persons
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from a diverse background. >> okay. thank you. the task force that's been discussed today i'm concerned about rendition. i can see from a release on the task force from the department of just fris august 24th that actually, you're calling it transfers or it was called transfers, but that's renditions, isn't it? >> well, there are renditions. somebody can be rendered from another country pursuant to an extradition treaty. that's also called renditions. somebody can be transferred from another country as a result of the other country putting a person on a plane to the united states. that's a rendition, albeit, without any extradition paper. >> my question is are we going to continue the policy of
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rendition where we send folks, prisoners to other countries and will the fbi be handing folks over to this cia for rendition? >> we have not done that in the past and we will not do it in the future. i gave a brief description to that, because yes, we have been involved in rendition, but not the renditions i think you're asking about. >> okay. i just want to make sure that there's not transfers of people to other countries for torture. i certainly would not do that, when we transfer someone to another country, it's pursuant. >> have not, and will not. okay. >> the fbi has a human
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trafficking initiative that investigates an arrest and traffickers. in minnesota there's a serious problem with trafficking in native american communities. people are trafficking native american women. in fact, the minnesota indian women's resource center recently found that 27% of its clients, native american women were victims of human trafficking as defined by minnesota law. i want to know if human trafficking is a priority at this fbi and how many full-time employees investigate human trafficking at the fbi and how many man hours are spent investigating human trafficking at the fbi. >> i had not been aware prior to the mention by your staff that this question might be coming up about human trafficking of native american women. it's something i have to look into. >> please. >> we will. i can tell you that we have over a hundred agents that work in indian country. we've maintained that since september 11th despite the other
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priorities, but i'd have to get back to you as well as to the number of agents and others we have that are working on human trafficking in general, and i would do that. >> please get back to me on that and on how many of your investigations have centered on trafficking of native women. the fbi gathers crime statistics from around the country, but in minnesota they don't participate in the crime program. state law says actually they can't. this means that crimes on the indian reservations are underreported in national statistics than indian triems themselves have difficulty tracking and analyzing crime. this is a big problem. do you know how many indian tribes on reservations participate in the crime reporting program? >> i don't. i'll get back to you, but it is a voluntary reporting structure.
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>> okay. i have a little bit over a minute left so i'm just -- we hear a lot about cyber terror itch, but a lot of folks don't have a clear idea of what it is, and how it can actually harm people in the country. so and just how fighting it is crucial in the war on terror. can you tell me what cyber terrorism is and how it can actually result in the loss of lives and do that for our people watching? >> if you have an attack and if you have a service attack or a worm or a virus, quite often you don't know who is responsible for that. is it a state actor? is it a country some place and is it a terrorist group or is it an individual? whatever the activity is you have to trace it back and attribute it to one of the three. generally with terrorists it
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could be disrupting a communications network. i mean, the points are shutting down an electrical grid, shutting down a stock exchange and in other words, any activity that would bring attention to the terrorists that would disrupt our capabilities will probably be called a terrorist activity. >> they do stuff with satellites and can they do something with air traffic control. it would be one thing that they're concerned about, but it is utilize internet as a vehicle, and you also have the more recent example of the russians disrupting the georgian command and control capabilities before the invasion of georgia by russia. it is that kind of activity that either state sponsored or terror sponsored that can shut down
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various networks of the military or in the private arena as well. and presumably we have really smart people working on this. i remember the fbi several years ago didn't have the best -- before you took office, didn't have the best computer system. >> luckily, we do have very smart people and i rely on them. >> i'm sure. thank you. thank you, mr. director. >> if i may make another point on that, this is the way of the future. for the fbi it's absolutely essential that we attract and we bring in these people because the war -- the battlefields of the future going to be in the cyber arena and we have to grow in the same way that nsa and the intelligence commune vit to grow to address those threats of the future. >> thank you. >> director chairman leahy has gone to the vote. he will be back shortly, but in
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the meantime it's both my turn and my temporary chairmanship. so i guess i call on myself. >> do i call you mr. chairman? >> better not do that. first of all, i welcome you here and thank you for your continued leader shcht federal bureau of investigation which is an organization that americans are very proud of. you have been given you've been given a significant responsibility when this was announced. i was wondering what your administrative benchmarks are for the next couple of months to keep that process moving forward and to discharge the obligations that you have received, what you see as your next debs, when you think the group will be fully operational, what are the key benchmarks on
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the way there? >> let me start by saying that we're just now following up with protocols for this group. but as important as anything else is the leadership from the intelligence community, and we are exploring names and options for that. and the third area that we are -- there is outreach to other people who have done research in this area, to try to bring them in earlier, the lessons learned, research from the defense and intelligence committees, and other areas that have been looking at this so that we start with some of accumulated knowledge upon which we will build. but in my mind, the two critical issues are bringing together our organizations to work closely together in understanding, and have consensus on the dole on
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these goals, and that the leadership should be supported by all participants. >> can you put that on to a time horizon for me? . participants. can you put that into some kind of time horizon for me? i would say by the first of the year and i tend to be impatient. i would give you a longer term in my horizon than i would like. i can tell you that just about every day i'm looking for one or more pieces of it. >> very good. i should take this opportunity to congratulate you for the success that the fbi has had in this role in these high-value interrogations. the very identity of khalid shaikh muhammad as the architect shaikh muhammad as the architect of the horrors was something that was achieved by an fbi-led interrogation. it was a joint effort. there were fbi and cia interrogators present, but i want to thank you because you
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had an effective role. >> can i just inter something? >> please. >> we have participated with the agents and the military. there have been successes across the board. in my mind we are not where we are today without the activities and capabilities of the agency in terms of addressing the war on terror and the military and while i appreciate the congratulations, i must say that we do spend a lot of time in attributing successes given the policy debate, but the fact of the matter is the agency has been instrumental in bringing us the safety that we have it to the extent that we have it today, and i did want to make that point. that's a very good point, and i think we have -- it is administratively generous and prudent to make it, and i believe the fbi's role has been undersung, and i want to take this opportunity to express your
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agency's efforts. as we look towards bringing people from guantanamo to the united states for further detention, for prosecution, for conviction, what is the fbi's assessment of the security risks that that process presents and how big of a hazard is the detention of these suspects with the united states. >> think it depends on the circumstances. depending on where the bureau of prisons, quite obviously, you've been out to colorado and seen florida, i think. there is very, very little risk
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there. in most federal prisons there's very, very little risk. county jails are different. my expectation is when you're bringing persons from everseas who are involved in terrorism, they will be given top priority in terms of assuring that not only are they inkors rated and cannot escape, but also they do not affect or infect other prisoners or have the capability of affecting events outside the prison system. >> assuming appropriate prioritization for these individuals. do you have any doubts of the federal bureau of prisons to keep them secure? >> yes. >> you do have doubts or you do not have doubts? >> well, i don't know. i don't know that the circumstances -- my expectation is the bureau of prisons, along with the marshal service, will provide adequate and appropriate security. >> very good. senator klobuchar?
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>> thank you very much, senator whitehouse, good to see you again, director mueller. i want to talk to you a bit about the white collar area. i know you devoted some of your testimony to that and while i see the prosecution of violent crimes and the investigation of violent crimes as well as terrorism to be priorities of your work. i have also always believed that it's been very difficult for local law enforcement to handle some of these complex cases coming from that angle that my previous job before i came to the u.s. senate. one of the thins we've talked about at previous hearings is the potential for fraud with the t.a.r.p. money and the stimulus money, and i wondered, without revolleying specific cases if the fbi is prepared for that type of fraud that we might see? i think in the out years we'll be given additional resources. we requested additional resources in the 2010 budget and
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our expectation is we'll ask for more in the 2011 budget and there's no doubt in my mind that the monies that are rolling relatively freely through the federal government, we have to work closely with the i.g.s to identify where those monies are flowing and who will take a piece of it, whether it be through fraud or public corruption. with those amounts out there, there is no doubt that there will be a number of people who seek to obtain those frauds and those amounts illegally and it will take us as well as the inspector generals as well as new ways of identifying and maintaining data that will enable us to get to the heart of a scheme relatively early. and through manipulating that data and pulling in that data to be able to make a pros curial case. there's no doubt that whether it be from the t.a.r.p. or stimulus package and the like that there's going to be fraud abuse
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and betrayal of the public trust. >> you also testified about the health care fraud and the work that's being done there. as we deal with cost savings for health care and looking for those savings, one of the things that i was most startled by with some of the estimates that the health care fraud cost taxpayers $60 billion a year potentially because there's 20% of total medical spending. i know when i was a prosecutor we had a number of cases that were quite shocking in some of its technology because people were able to get into hospital systems and start ripping things off or getting identity numbers or smings like that and some of it is just providers which is the scariest part, people putting patients at risk or doing multiple billings and multiple surgeries. so can you address what the fbi is doing in that regard? i also have a bill on this to
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require direct depositing or electronic funds transfer for the medicare payments because the regulations have not been uniformly enforced and to me that's a simple no-brainer that we would have direct depositing so that would help us to prohibit some of this fraud. >> i can tell you at this point we have almost 2500 cases and this year alone we've had 49 convicts ina fraud cases and we have ten task forces around the country and we have about 700, almost 800 persons working on health care fraud with 60 or so special agents. that is not enough to address the problem. and as the health care debate goes on, and if indeed there is a health care bill, we would hope that there would be provisions in there that would address this particular issue, however, one that you suggested be one.
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our people are looking at what might come out and how we can, at the outset put into place the records and the capability of access to those records so that we can identify the fraud schemes without waiting for somebody to walk in the door. >> exactly, i would think that your input from the agency would be very important as we go forward. i believe this has got to be part of any kind of health care reform bill when we're looking at those kinds of numbers and we're trying to save money. some of these can be really ease we someone who just collected social security numbers out of a hospital because they happened to be in a drawer, in a stack in a rubberband. obviously, they've changed their procedure. that was just a straight identify theft scheme using the social security numbers, but there are more complex schemes, as you know. >> on a number of occasions the attorney general and secretary sebelius have spoken out about this and are concerned about it and have taken the opportunity to make the point in press conferences relating to health
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care fraud where there have been successful conclusions to investigations. >> exactly, and i know again how high cost these investigations can be, but it's my hope when you look at the madoff case which of course, was sec, but to have all of those whistle blowers that have called and tried to report that and $65 billion stolen that the costs of these investigations may be high and the cost of not doing anything is so much higher. so thank you on that. the last thing i want to talk to you about was we recently had a hearing on the national academy of science report, forensic science and as you know, they released a report in february on some of the changes and some recommendations of the science area. we had a very interesting report hearing with police chiefs and prosecutors and people from the innocence project there, and we actually found some general agreement and there were clearly
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disputes about some of the language in the reports that the prosecutors did not like, but there was some general consensus a kred tating some of these forensic science labs and some forensic science labs and some certification and also funding for more training in this area and also taking care of some of the backlog that we've seen across the country. could you comment on the fbi's view on that? >> well, i think our view is that we absolutely believe that accreditation is tremendously important. we have sought it and received it. but i think that that is absolutely essential to raising the capabilities of laboratories around the country. training, quite obviously, always contributes to that. the one area in which there was some discussion in that is separating the forensics laboratory from the -- >> the police. >> -- the police. in our case, i think it would have a substantially detrimental effect -- >> yeah, i -- >> and you as a prosecutor -- >> i totally get that part of
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it. that's why i'm trying to find the consensus pieces, and there was consensus on the accreditation, funding, training, backlog, and then just some of these certification issues, so. >> we're on that train. >> okay, good. very good. thank you very much, director. >> i think we await the return of the chairman from the vote. it should be very shortly. if you don't mind, i'll take an extra moment and follow up with you until he gets here on the questions for the record that i asked when you appeared before the committee on march 25th having to do with issues surrounding the security clearance, background checks, the hiring process for the individuals that the fbi needs to bring on board as it takes more and more of a national
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security-oriented role. people with foreign experience, people with foreign language capability, people who have more national security backgrounds and so forth. you have a very considerable security clearance process, and i gather from the response that i've been given that you have been able to manage quite effectively to keep the security clearance within the 90-day time frame that is suggested for trying to bring people on board, and that in driving it to that standard, you feel you've also been able to meet the national security and clearance security requirements. could you comment a little bit more about what it took to get there? was that an easy step? and did it sort of fall within ordinary changez or do you have
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to really press matters to get that accomplished? >> it has impacted two areas. one is our ability to hire any given year. we've got a one-year budget, and often we don't get our budget because there's a continuing resolution, and so we have a much truckated time in which to bring those people on board, and our human resources division is completely revamrevam iingrevam procedures, and we will have everybody on board by the first of the year. certainly with agents and analysts, we actually are above our numbers we're looking into how to restructure our facility checks and we have done that and we are working in terms of the mandate frame. i would have to get back to you
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on that. i do believe that we are working with the intelligence community to fix this problem. >> i appreciate that. the chairman has a turn. >> we have checked with whether senator schumer were senator specter is coming back. there is a whole series of votes. you have been here before, you know how this is. >> yes, sir. there are 11 senators that have taken part in this. we have had the ranking member and two very senior members of the republican party take place. it shows how serious we take this. we know that you take the
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question of oversight seriously. seriously. you and i have talked not just here, but we talked during the weeks and the months as we go along. i would note that this spring, the national academy of sciences issued a comprehensive report on the need to improve forensic sciences in the united states. the judiciary committee's held two hearings on this already. i've been disturbed by some of the things i've heard. as a -- when i was a prosecutor, i used forensic evidence all the time. we didn't have dna then, but we used everything else. i know how valuable it can be, both to the prosecution and the defense, but it's valuable only if it's accurate, reliable, and if it reflects state-of-the-art technique. i think we have to have total
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confidence. as you know and i know, there are some cases that have no forensic evidence, but when it is there, for interests of justice, it has to be accurate. it has to be something both sides can agree on. in the 1990s, i called the fbi, it faced some similar problems. the fbi laboratory wasn't living up to the highest standards. ultimately, the fbi worked with the congress. we built an entirely new fbi laboratory. massive undertaking. i think it was about $100 million, years. now the fbi's at the forefront of forensic science. in fact, one area that we see now that people agree as being solidly reliable, dna, is actually the standard developed
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by the fbi. >> yes, sir. >> how do we -- what do we do with forensic programs around the country? i mean, some argue that we should have one national lab. others say that the state labs can be good. as you know, some states have very good labs. some states don't. how do we establish standards, so if you're trying a case in vermont or california or ohio, and forensic science is used, that there's some touchstone standard, like the national science academy has said that we can look at and say, okay, we know this is good? >> i do believe that accreditation is tremendously important and driving persons to upgrade laboratories and shaming
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them into seeking accreditation. and it's going to require the support not just of the laboratories themselves, but it costs money to upgrade a lab. it takes money to train the various technicians you need. >> money and time. >> money and time. and you need everybody to be pushing it. particularly in this case, it should be the judges, should be the prosecutors, should be the defense counsel, it should be the technicians themselves. and as you have pointed out, guilt or innocence of somebody is often dependent on the quality of that forensic evidence, even before dna. the other aspect of it is, as in everything else, we need to work together. you indicate that we establish the standards with regard to dna. we did it with a working group of individuals from around the country, from a variety of laboratories, so that it wasn't the fbi dictating, it was law enforcement within the united
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states coming together with appropriate solution and standards. the same thing can be said for the criminal justice information services, where we have a board which is made up mostly of state and local law enforcement that we, basically, are the administrator, and that works exceptionally well. so, having the money, having the push, having the accreditation and then having the input of the board from state and local law enforcement are, i would say, the key components. >> and this is something really that affects everybody in the criminal justice system. it affects the judges, defense attorneys, prosecutors. we talked about this before. the prosecutor wants to make sure they've got the right person. the worst thing is if you convict the wrong person, because it means the person who convicted the crime is still out there going free, plus the obvious violation of convicting the wrong person.
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but you have, i call it the "csi" factor. you go into courts, everybody says, well, where's the dna? well, a lot of cases don't have dna. or where's the fingerprints? a lot of cases don't have fingerprints. where's the ballistics? a lot of cases don't have it. but when it's there, it ought to be something where the argument is, we all agree on the finding. otherwise, i think we're going to be in for some really, real difficulty, especially with some of the court cases that have come down about requiring the testimony of the person who actually did it. that could be almost impossible, and i know your laboratory helps local law enforcement all around the country, and that could create a real problem. let me ask you another thing while the staff is checking, there's others coming back. we saw the murder of matel
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matero, an ecuadorian immigrant brutally killed in long island. and we've seen such other crimes against latinos and immigrants. the southern poverty law center show the fbi statistics suggest a 40% rise in anti-latino hate crimes across the nation between 2000 and 2007. what is happening here and what steps are being taken? both of us abhor hate crimes of any instance, whether against latinos, blacks, people because of their gender or sexual identification. but is there an increase in latino and immigrant hate crimes? >> i had not been aware of that. i will have to go and check with that, but whatever we get allegations with that regard in consultation and conjunction with the department of justice to determine the applicability of our jurisdiction, we
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thoroughly investigate and try and convict. i will have to get back to you on that increase. i had not recognized that. i know we have a problem with reporting of hate crimes because some believe it is a somewhat nebulous category. some are unwilling to put it into that category. and our statistics, as i say, are dependent on the state and local law enforcement providing that information. we have in the last couple of years focused when we have our meetings with regard to the information that's provided just focused on that particular issue in order to encourage state and local law enforcement to spend more time and enable us to have accurate statistics in that regard. >> well, the late senator kennedy had espoused hate crime less, and i'm proud to follow his lead in doing that. we have legislation pending that would increase the tools for
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federal investigators, but also to state and local law enforcement to deal with hate crimes. we know this happens. we saw the murder of a guard at the holocaust museum, and your department was involved, as the other areas were in that, something that all of us found as shocking of things you might see. do you think if we pass a bill that may be able to help law enforcement curb the trend of crimes on ethnicity or race or sexual orientation or bias, would that help us? >> i'd have to take a look at it, but it might well. >> thank you. i see senator schumer here. i yield to senator schumer. >> you voted, i take it. >> thank you, mr. chairman. first, let me thank you. i know you asked many more questions than you thought you would, and you're a good friend, a great leader and a wonderful
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chairman. so, thank you for handing it to me, and i hope the questions, mr. director, weren't too difficult, that i caused he asked, if i -- >> no. >> anyway, i have a bunch of questions. the first relates, of course, to what happened in new york a few days ago. we marked the eighth anniversary of our terrorist attacks, the 9/11 attacks, last friday in solemn ceremonies, seeing the families still wearing the pictures of the people they lost, and we mark this day with remembrance but also rededication to the country's national security, as i have said. publicly, i think the fbi does a very good job and is light years better than they were on 9/10, 2001, and a lot of that is to your credit, mr. director, and the men and women who work for you, the thousands and thousands who do it.
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in new york, we have very good task force. now, my question is just, you know, this recent report put new yorkers on edge. it came at a time right after 9/11. there were all sorts of rumors flying around. so, i just want to ask you a question. and i know that this is an ongoing investigation, not much can be said of it in public, nor should it, so that the investigation is not compromised. however, here's the one question i have. could you assure new yorkers and the american public that the situation is under sufficient control and there is no imminent danger to their safety? >> i can say that i do not believe there is an imminent danger from that particular investigation, from what i know of that particular investigation. >> okay. i think we'll leave it at that. i want to urge you to continue the joint terrorism task force. it is a very successful
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enterprise and i would urge continued cooperation. i intend to visit it shortly. they invited me to come and i will be there. >> let me also put in and say without any reservation that our relationships with nypd and this and other investigations could not be better and that new yorkers are well benefited by the work of nypd and ray kelly in making the city safe. and in situations where there are investigations being conducted, we have a very good working relationship, and we'll continue that relationship. >> good. i'm glad to hear it. i know it toss the case, and thank you for saying it. next question relates to the terror alerts. as you know, tom ridge, the former secretary of the department of homeland security, recently wrote a book. it was entitled "the test of our times." the book reveals how some, including former attorney
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general ashcroft, former secretary of defense rumsfeld, he said, pressured him to elevate the national security threat just days before the 2004 election in what he suspected was an effort to influence the election. that's his characterization, not mine. furthermore, he saints you were on his side against raising the terrorist level. could you please provide us with what you know happened then? is it true you were against raising the alert level? >> i won't speak -- i cannot speak to the particular incident that is recounted in tom ridge's book. what i can say is i do believe throughout the years that we have been dealing with terrorist attacks, that any person sitting at the table was interested in doing the right thing, not for political reasons. each one sitting at the table when these decisions are made understands the decision may
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well relate to whether a person lives or dies as a result of a terrorist attack. and i did not see political considerations in those discussions. >> those specific discussions. >> throughout. >> thank you. next question relates to security of fbi databases and cyber security experts. the administration released a new national intelligence strategy yesterday and it designated cyber security as a new top priority for the intelligence community. that makes a great deal of sense. you told the committee this morning how important this area is and how important it is to hire appropriate experts. a report issued by a private consulting
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firm highlights the problems with hiring. does the fbi have sufficient experts to meet the growing cyber security needs? is the fbi expanding its effort to recruit and retain such experts? >> in the wake of september 11th, we changed our definition of our hiring needs and cyber capabilities is one that we focus on immediately. we brought in any number of persons who were software developers, program analysts, wall range of expertise -- all range of expertise. we are still recruiting. it is one of the categories that we understand that is absolutely essential to get the right people in and one that will
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expand. the other aspect that i believe that is tremendously important is that we have a task force that is relatively large and that includes personnel from any number of agencies said that we tapped in not only to the expertise of the fbi but of the military, intelligence community, and others. >> are you having difficulties in finding an of cyber security? >> no. conduct a report on the hiring of cyber security experts, not just in the fbi, but in other parts of the government as well, so we can comprehensively identify any systemic deficiencies and work together to keep our intelligence agencies fully and appropriately staffed. that's it. >> thank you. director, we now are several minutes into a ten-minute roll call vote. i will recess the hearing now,
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but again, thanks to you. i appreciate, as i said before. you've always been available when i've had questions, and i appreciate your testimony here today. we share a common interest in law enforcement, law enforcement we can be proud of. again, i complicate you for your speech on the anniversary on the fbi's anniversary. >> thank you. >> stand in recess.ú [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009]
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>> in a few moments, a look at the health care options available to the low income population. in a half hour, the latest on the health care debate. max baucus announced his plan today. you will hear his briefing with reporters and reaction from republican senators. after that, president obama meets with canadian prime minister harper. on "washington journal" tomorrow we will be joined by the co- chairmen of the progressive caucus, raul grijalva. the president of the american enterprise institute, offers his assessment of the obama administration. then we will discuss how student loans are administratoadministe.
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"washington journal" is live on c-span every day at 7:00 a.m. eastern. a couple of live events to tell you about for tomorrow on our companion network, c-span 3. the senate foreign relations committee will focus on afghanistan. one will be the former supreme allied commander in europe. that is at 10:00 a.m.. at 2:00 p.m., and house committee continues its look at private insurance companies. witnesses include executives of the six largest insurance companies. >> ron paul wants to hold the federal reserve accountable for the economic crisis. he wants to end the fed. sunday, he talks about his new book on book tv. follow ups on twitter for the latest updates. >> now a look at what health
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care options are available to the low income population. dward of johns hopkins university. he joins us to talk about low income and the uninsured when it comes to the health care debate. thank you for joining us. who are the uninsured? guest: often the working poor. people love not signed up for medicate -- people who have not signed up for medicaid, and illegal immigrants. host: what is your group advocating? to? guest: one thing missing from this debate is the delivery side of care. we think we have the mechanisms where we can ensure that we can take care of the uninsured better than we are doing right now, if we have mechanisms in place to make that happen. talking about the populations
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that come into the system, and ways that we can treat those that are high cost. preventive measures that we have in place. if they are admitted to the hospital and then discharge, that we have services in place to take care of them when they go back to their homes. host: is there anything in the current health care debate that would specifically affect low income? guest: we are concerned about the reimbursement rates. everybody wants to pay for this in some way by insuring the cuts. in that way, there will be less physicians that will care for these patients. we do not want that. we want to have mechanisms in place. there are ways to care for
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them in their homes so they are not admitted again or come back to the emergency rooms. host: what about geographic disparities? guest: the whole issue of geographic disparities and the study the people of talked about -- if you take out the cost of living in cities like new york, baltimore, or washington, if you put in the cost of indirect medical education, and the fact that we take care of a disproportion of the uninsured, you find there's not as much cost variation. host: harmony of the uninsured -- how many illegal immigrants are a part of that? guest: it is a significant factor, but it is very different
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in different parts of the country. in baltimore, we see a significant number of the spanish population better coming in and having their babies in our hospitals. in san diego, there have been a significant number of people ending up in the emergency rooms because they have no care. in other parts of the country, it is not as big of an issue. it is an issue that needs to be addressed, but very different in different parts of the country. host: what about people who choose not to have insurance? a lot of it is on the young people and the country who actively decide not to have this. guest: i think it is unfair for people who can afford to buy health insurance not to buy it, and then show up and say they have free care. that is a real problem. insurance only works if everybody is in it.
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that's what insurance is about. host: first call from richmond, va., jennifer, a medical professional. caller: do you agree that the senator from kentucky said he would agree to a high deductible payment. i totally disagree with this. it totally stops preventive care for low-income people. the last doctor from kentucky did not understand that for people do not have the money to see the doctor. they have a whole opportunity of preventative maintenance that is gone. they have to wait until it is a big problem. i have been in the medical profession for almost 20 years.
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if you do not address the prior authorization process, and if you do not stop poor people from getting access to it -- the last doctor said he wants to see people takpay. it will not matter if there is a public option or not. guest: i agree. having a high deductible for for people does not work. they will not seek care. they will not get the medicines that they need. i could not agree more. host: venice, calif., cynthia. caller: i would like to ask how you felt about medical care for
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profit, and the way the medical industry is in place now seems to care about that so much more than they do caring for their patients. the president is being so criticized about this in terms of his plan. i wanted to know how you felt about that. guest: i have only worked in a non for-profit system. the small amount of profit -- those dollars get pushed back into the system to try to deliver a higher quality of care and to educate the work force of tomorrow. there are some very responsible for-profit health care insurance companies. there are others that are not. you cannot painted them all with a broad brush.
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i am concerned that sometimes the concern is making sure that the shareholders' value is increasing versus delivering the highest in health care. host: do you have a personal opinion on public option? guest: my personal view on public option is depending on what it really is. by that, what is the reimbursement going to be? if the reimbursement will be set at the medicaid rate, i'm not in favor. if it is better than medicare, i'm more in favor. because it will bring in people. it will allow a significant number of physicians to provide care. in the medicare and medicaid system, as the reimbursement remains low, fewer physicians are willing to accept medicare and medicaid.
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host: some critics have said that if you ensure everyone, the demand to go to the doctor will be so high that doctors will not be able to see their patients. guest: once you give someone an insurance card, the use is very high. we have seen that in maryland. the state of maryland recently increased the ability for people. 20,000 people came into the system. i can assure you they use a tremendous number of resources in the first couple of years there in the plan because they have not have health care. you see the same things in medicare. when they become a medicare recipient, they use a disproportion number of services. host: next call from new jersey. caller: i look at it this way. we live in the richest country in a world.
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everyone is talking about abortion in this and that. if you want to save a life, save the living. when i went to have my first child, my husband said to me, if it came between me and that baby, let the baby go. i need you. i'm going to tell you something. we cannot save lives in our own country? something is wrong. host: next call, pittsburgh, pa.. caller: i was calling to talk about medicaid versus insurance companies. i am an emt. i have seen a decline in how many patients we have been taking to the hospitals. i believe that the insurance
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companies and medicaid should have their fight outside of the actual care for patients. over the last 10 years, the "value of life" has diminished. it seems like everyone from dispatchers to nurses to insurance companies -- everybody wants their own version of "the value of life." i believe that should be between the doctor and patient. how it is paid for should be separated from that. i do not care if you're young or old or have no money. everybody has value of life. that should be separated from this money part. guest: i have been a physician for 40 years.
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i agree. every patients life is valuable. i think academic health care centers have value to that over the years. i have seen no change in that. we take everybody who comes to our door. in the emergency room, we try to provide them with the best care. many of the places in the country do this. i agree there has to be a mechanism in order that we can continue on that course to provide care for people that come to us. we do value life. we have to find a mechanism to pay for its. host: east orange, new jersey. caller: in regard to low income people, i think low income would be anybody who makes $50,000 or less. i'm understand there's a problem with payment. we have ways to pay for things on the internet. i'm wondering if there could be a central database. . when someone is admitted, they
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can be tracked, and the physician can be paid immediately electronically. this way they can track who is using the system. they can even track people who are here illegally and get them the assistance they need to either become legal, or at least save money. guest: i think you're correct. i think there are mechanisms. if you get them into some kind of insurance plan, you can't do exactly as you stated. you can start to track them. those that come in without insurance, you should find a mechanism to get them insured. for example, if we have a patient that might be eligible for medicaid, we immediately get them enrolled. to be able to attract the
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population, and at the same time, be able to identify those who will be high users of medical services, and then to put mechanisms in place to take care of those -- we know how to care for those in a continuum. it can be much cheaper than episodes of illness. host: he raised the point about what constitutes a low income. who qualifies as low income? guest: about $50,000. i think the number is higher than that. we can ensure the population that are above medicaid limits, which is about $30,000 -- those are the working poor. we should find a mechanism to be able to ensure those individuals at a rate that they need to have some skin in the game. they need to pay something for
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the premium. we should be able to figure out how do we partner with the government. how do we partner with blue cross blue shield and others? if we can get those working for into the system, they're generally pretty healthy. we can care for them and make sure they do not get illnesses the ndp in our emergency rooms. host: next call from kentucky. caller: good morning. i am a 50-year-old woman. my husband was injured in an accident. he is on disability. he has medicare. i have some health insurance. i tried to apply for medical card and in kentucky. i have no kids over the age of 18.
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where does that leave me? i feel like sometimes people think because i'm a wife and that i am at home that i do not contribute. i take care of a disabled husband and a disabled grandson so my children can work. i do contribute. i can go to the emergency room if it is that bad. if they say, you need more test run, you need to go to your family doctor. i cannot even afford to go to the family doctor. guest: unfortunately, i think you make a better example than some of the examples the president made in his speech. you are in the exact person who needs that kind of health care insurance. right now it is so individualized to each of the states. the states make these decisions.
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you fit in the category of people who should have health insurance, you should have access to doctors. it should not ruin you financially, you are doing a service to your family by taking care of your husband and a disabled child. that is very important. this is why i think some kind of population health, where you can be cared for by the system. host: are there any models on the state or local level of covering the uninsured that work? guest: we take care of a lot of the uninsured. i do not think there's a good model for this yet. host: next caller. caller: i have worked in the health profession for last 10 years. i have watched the cost the that is reimbursed from going to
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$60 to $145. the real concern with all the changes -- i do not know who to believe. i think it's wonderful this gentleman is on television. it is nice to hear from someone who is in the nonprofit industry. i look at all these cost increases. i'm wondering. the reform needs to come from every level of health care. i have dealt with johns hopkins directly. we send patients from the rural area who have no insurance. we watch what congress is doing. congress is, we just need to put everybody in. i agree that is not going to work. i have watched the poor people
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in my area that have no coverage that cannot afford to go to the doctor. we sent them through the system. they may be $1 over, and i cannot treat them. in my industry, i have watched salaries. i work for a big group of physicians. nursing went from $10 per hour to $14 per hour. everything is going to have to change before you can really change health care. guest: there are multiple areas where things could be improved your comments about the cost of doing and so forth is a great example. we deal with 600 different insurance companies at johns hopkins. every insurance company can have its own. . it can have its own eligibility requirements and so forth. we have hundreds of people that only spend their time trying to sort out the insurance issues.
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secondly, take a look at the issue of tort reform, the cost of malpractice insurance continues to climb despite our best. . -- despite our best efforts. that is another piece of the puzzle that needs to be addressed. the way to solve this is not one thing that will solve the problem. we need to pick various areas where we can see real cost savings and real improvement and value to the patient. the patient has got to be the center of this. we got lost in the insurance companies and tort reform. we need to figure out what is the best thing for the patient. host: larry from the virgin islands. caller: i was just one to say -- i do not think the argument against the public option is
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valid. host: why not? caller: i am undermine wife's policy could is up to the insurance company which doctor or dentist i can have. i don't think there's any difference if the insurance companies choosing, or the government. the doctors will be so overloaded. thank you. guest: the whole issue of work- force development has not been in this discussion. there are many places in the country, and i think massachusetts it's a good example. when they opened up health insurance for all of massachusetts, individuals could not find it provider. unless we address the workforce issue -- it is not just the positiophysicians.
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that has not been at all the debate. but we are here in washington to discuss with congress is to discuss this specific issue. caller: good morning. i have a couple of questions. one of them is about who qualifies for medicaid. i've been diagnosed with congestive heart failure over one year ago. the first doctor i saw thought i had an infection. i got to the point where i could not even brieeath. he said, you better go to the hospital. i went to the hospital and they diagnosed me with that. i have seen two cardiologists. i have applied for medicaid and denied three times. i saw and cardiologists last week. she said i had congestive heart failure could i have been denied.
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the previous guest said 1/3 of the people who are uninsured qualify for medicaid and do not know it. i think that is basically the republican handbook that says they're just using smoke and mirrors to try to sway the public. who qualifies for medicaid? should a person like myself qualify for medicaid? how can the viewers not see that this is a monopoly that the health-care system has? guest: the issue of medicaid is by each state. every state can set the limits. it's usually based on income. every state is changing all the time. the state of maryland increased the eligibility requirements. they did that by increasing how much over the poverty level in come was necessary.
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i cannot specifically answer your question for your state, but each state has requirements. host: next call, buffalo, new york. caller: good morning. guest: good morning. caller: i am calling to talk about efficiency questions. i am in the medical field. i am involved in emr systems. that is creating a lot of deficiencieefficiencies and redt of the error. a single payer system would be a lot more efficient from what i've seen fit i have dealt with all the insurance companies, the government, medicare, medicaid, and all those things. from my experience, it is very painful working with insurance companies. they're very inefficient and have a lot of overhead. it is very complicated to set up
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medical billing with those organizations. they do not want to take a i imagine there would be a lot of savings if we simply switched everything over to a government run system. simply because there's so much easier to deal with. there's much less overhead. the whole billing process is a lot smoother and a lot more efficient. rates are lower, but they get paid more often. guest: it is a real political issue. i do not think the insurance companies will go away in this country. if you take a look at some of the foreign countries that have a government controlled system, those countries then start to develop a separate private insurance system. everybody is enrolled in the system is not happy and they want another option. want another option.
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there are ways to improve the efficiency. there are ways for the insurance industry to be regulated in such a way so that electronic billing, requiring everyone to be built this way, we would agree. we have very small insures that don't have the ability to do this. i don't see the private insurance industry going away in this country right away. host: is medicare the primary payer for people have their own insurance? . . for every private insurer who has a layer of private insurance -- it policy is different.
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-- each policy is different treaty cannot answer that with one question. for some, it's better to of medicare. for others, it is better to have your primary to be private. host: next call from louisiana. caller: do you know if there is going to be any cuts in social security disability? security disability? everyone please this. i do not care if you are white black, orange, yellow, pink, or red. we cannot keep rewarding people for having illegitimate children on welfare. it is killing our health-care system. if that does not make any sense, policlease -- where are e going with this? we cannot reward illegitimate mothers to have a dozen babies.
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if i'm wrong, tell me i'm wrong. guest: in terms of your first question, i do not know the answer about social security disability benefits. there are major decreases in some of the bills by in medicare spending, which could affect that. hospitals and health systems cannot really take care of all the social issues that this country has. we often end up the providers of care for social problems, whether it is unwanted pregnancy, drug addictions, but there's another element of society that needs to deal with that. caller: thank you for taking my call. a woman called earlier and spoke about being uninsured and taking care of her disabled husband.
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i have been without health insurance for almost two years. some of the pharmaceuticals that have helped me. my husband is unemployed. i became unable to work. i have a history of a lot of health problems. i am not able to go back to work. i have been denied disability. i take care of grandchildren. i can do a lot of things, however, i cannot work as a medical assistant as i did for years. i had my first payroll job at age 16. i'm now 57. two years ago, i could working pitt i raised three children practically on my own. i have worked hard and given a lot. i swallowed a lot of pride.
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i cannot work and do what i've always done. i am left now without insurance. i have uncontrollable hypertension. i've already had a stroke. i have a tumor on a kidney. i have three herniated disks in my back. i could go on and on. i've taken care of people in the health-care field all my life. i cannot even go see a specialist. i've been referred to by the clinic. guest: the question is, are you medicaid eligible? in the state you are in, there should be ways for you to be cared for in the system. from your description, you certainly have certain medical
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issues that should be dealt with in a productive way. -- in a pro-active way. you will be eligible in the future for medicare. unfortun host: we will have to leave it there. thank you for joining us. >> in a few moments, a latest on the health-care debate. finance committee chairman senator max baucus announced his plan today. you will hear his briefing with reporters and reaction from republican senators. in about 45 minutes, president obama meets with canadian prime minister stephen harper. and after that, fbi director robert mueller testifies about the bureau's role in fighting terrorism.
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one "washington journal," we will be joined by the chairman of the progressive caucus from arizona. the president of the american enterprise institute, author brogues, offers this assessment of the obama administration. -and we will take your questions about a bill about house student loans are administered. represented jim bishop, a member of the education and labor committee. "washington journal" is live every morning on c-span at 7:00 a.m. eastern. a couple of live events to tell you about tomorrow. from my companion network, sees burned -- c-span3. one of the witnesses will be retired john -- retired general john crack. that is at 10:00 a.m. eastern. at 2:00 p.m. eastern, house subcommittee continues his look
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at private insurance company. witnesses include executives of the six largest executive -- 86 largest insurance companies. >> next month, take a rare visit inside the supreme court as we talk to the justices about the role, traditions, and history of the accord. >> he said that he would not come in here, because the cell -- the building was elaborate, it would cover their heads. maybe he was right but it has become over time some of the court system, the third branch of government, and the need for stability and rule of law which is what america stands for. >> supreme court weeks starting october 4 on c-span. as a complement to this original production, c-span offers teachers free teaching resources on our judicial system. go to c-span classroom. >> senate finance committee chairman max baucus has released its version of health care bill after weeks of
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negotiations with republicans and two other democrats. the bill will go to the full finance committee. you will hear details on the bill from senator baucus and reaction from other senators, both democratic and republican. >> our health care system is breaking the banks of everybody. millions of americans that they simply cannot afford quality health insurance. in fact, in the past day, another 17,000 people lost coverage. more small businesses cut benefits because they are simply too expensive. and more americans filed for bankruptcy because of high
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medical payments. that is why it is time to act. and that is why this is our moment in history. this is our chance to reform health care in america. we cannot let this opportunity pass. last week president obama laid out what he believes a decree criteria -- the key criteria for reform. they to provide more stability for those with health insurance today. its expand coverage to those who do not. it should slow the growth of health-care costs. it to keep insurance companies honest. the chairman's mark i releasing today delivers on this critical reforms. it delivers on the need for meaningful health care reform and ensures that goal.
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it meets the criteria laid out by president obama and it could achieve our common goals for health care reform. here reflects months of work and more than a year of preparation by our committee. it represents an effort to reach common ground and a real chance for health care reform. and it is balanced, a common sense build back and pass the senate. achieving real reform needs that we need to hold the insurance industry accountable, and that is why representing -- we are presenting this package and that is exactly what this package does. provides competition to hold insurance companies accountable and ensures that american several choices when they buy insurance. every american will be able to find quality, affordable coverage that cannot be taken away.
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it protect those with pre- existing conditions, which is very important. it forbids insurance companies from discriminating and capping coverage, and requires insurance companies to sell and renewal policy to anyone applying so long as the policyholder plays their premium and fall. -- in full. if you like your doctor and health plan today, you can keep them. it provides affordable coverage to tens of millions of americans and reduces costs and expands coverage for millions of americans. it emphasizes wellness and begins to shift the focus of our health care delivery system toward quality of health care provided, not quantity of services provided. it protect medicare and makes the medicare program stronger to ensure future generations can benefit. for seniors, it lowers prescription drug costs dramatically.
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for small businesses, it establishes a new marketplaces to shop for tax credits. in fact the congressional budget office projects that our reforms will significantly reduce the cost for individuals and groups markets. for the uninsured, our package guarantees immediate access to quality, affordable coverage. it is fiscally responsible and reduces the deficit in tenures and it controls health care spending in the long run. we had done everything imaginable to get the most generous, most affordable coverage that we could within president obama target of $900 billion. there are honors -- there are honest and principled dispenses -- differences among all of us. but at the end of the day, we all share a common purpose, to make the lives of americans
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better tomorrow than they are today. to get health care reform done, which means that time has come for action now. and we will act to pass health reform legislation this year. next week, the finance committee will do its part the help expand coverage. we will do our part to control costs. and we will do our part to work closely with president obama to deliver health care reform to the american people. i look forward to the efforts of my colleagues on the committee to make this an even better bill. i also look forward to working with leader read and chairman harkin, dodd, and the rest of my colleagues on the help committee said that we can merge our bill with theirs. this is a good bill. this is a balanced bill. it can pass the senate. i look forward to making sure that we have an even better bill that passes with an even larger
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margin. thank you. >> she spent some many months in a room with tiepolo but -- two other democrats and three republicans and you actually delayed this because you wanted to work with them, and now you are sitting here alone. how disappointed are you? do you really honestly think that you will get republicans on this? >> i believe that i have an obligation to work as diligently and as hard as i can to try to get the most broad based bill possible, because after all the american people want us in washington to work together, republicans and democrats, and they do not like the partisanship that is going on. and i think that a bipartisan approach is more sustainable. i have worked hard to get that bipartisan pork and i think that we will get it.
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certainly by the time the finance committee in this room votes on final passage for health care reform, there will be republican support. no republican has offered his or her support at this moment but i think by the time we get the final passage in this committee, you will find republican support. this bill should enjoy broad support. it is common sense, it is a balanced bill, and i think this bill -- i know that this bill will pass, certainly as a building can pass, and the choice is now up to those on the other side of the out whether they want to vote for it are not. we have worked very hard to make his balance and i think that is what it comes down to. the cos>> what about the long-tm effect for the sgr? >> that will be addressed.
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a permanent fix? i like to see it permanently fixed. and there's no doubt that we will in the senate address that. that is a separate and side issue. sgr is what medicare pays providers, and we will find a way to do that. that will not be an issue. we'll wait -- will find a way to do that. >> various democratic member say that they have great concerns about this bill. how concerned are you that you may not have enough democrats on your committee to pass this bill? dollars there is no doubt in my mind that this is a very balanced bill but is going to get significant support. i have talked to democrats, i have talked to republicans about this bill, just intensely, and i can tell you that those
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conversations, some would think that i have not gone far enough. there are some both sides of the aisle that think i have gone too far. this is basically in the framework that president obama as outlined in his state of the union address. it is very similar to what he suggested, and again i have taught the senate there's a democrat and republican, something too much, something too little, and i think i have come up with a good balance bill that can pass the senate. this is just the early stage. there will be amendments offered and i expect some pretty good amendments that i would support. then we will merge with the help committee. there are lots of opportunities, but to stay within the confines of $900 billion and trying to find a balanced approach, and again, someone more and somewhat
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less. i think that this is a very good beginning. [inaudible] he takes the bill is deeply flawed. they put out a statement that there were concerns that the democrats have about the bill. the cadillac tax. can you tell us how that came about and how sure are you that that cost will not trickle-down? >> this is a measure that many of us have supported for some time. senator kerry has been pushing the measure and it basically is a tax, frankly, one insurance
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companies. i think it is appropriate to get the fat out of the insurance companies. this bill focuses on those who profited the most in our health- care system and i think that they should be part of the solution. actually, not to get to deepen the weeds to answer your question, the congressional budget office said that the net result of this would be a significant change in the way companies and their insurance companies provide benefits to employees, namely as a consequence of this, wages could be increased and offset to pay health insurance benefits and that will increase taxable income of employees. and that -- the cbo therefore gives a positive score. i'm glad u.s. that question.
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it is also designed to partially been the cost curve. that is one of the criteria. >> an estimate on how many people the bill will cover? >> i do not have the exact estimate. that issue had been foremost in my mind every week. we do not want the coverage to get to love. coverage is too low, you know longer have the benefits of universal coverage. to many people in need insurance -- to get free too many people who need insurance will go and get it, and does it do not, the young and healthy, they will not. and then -- but more coverage, the more sure we are of lower
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premiums for americans. i do not have the product -- a precise number right now. it is in the mid-90s. amid the low 90s. it is a concern of mine and a point i am going to be focused on throughout the committee as we pass health care reform. >> you said that you do not want americans to lose their coverage. what about a stronger employer mandate? it looks like it would be cheaper for a lot of employers to just take a tax credit. >> in an effort to get balance again, and then -- in order to get a bill that can pass, i decided that it made more sense not have the actual mandate, but for employer who does not provide coverage, that employer will have to pay a penalty for not providing coverage to discourage employers from dropping coverage. it is $400 for all employees or
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it is a tax credit per employee that an employer may otherwise drop. this is another example of the difficulty in trying to find right balances. on the one hand, we want to keep our employer-based system and for employers to keep providing coverage for their employees. and on the other hand, we've got to make sure that insurance is not too onerous for employees and the employer is not too easily dropping coverage. it is trying to find a penalty in the right balance so as not to reduce coverage very much. >> what kind of support is there among governors and state legislators on this? >> i frankly think that this is pretty much resolved.
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the medicaid expansion, we in the group of six have had several conversations with governors, one conference call yesterday, and on a conference call yesterday bipartisan governors, we explained what the net result would be to governors with an expansion of medicaid. essentially, when you factor renders the rates that the united states will pay for the expanded population, and when you factor and other matters such as increase of a drug rebate from 50% to 23%, when you factor in job flexibility that states will have and some other provisions, on a net basis, on an average basis throughout the country, states will say,
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according to the most recent calculation, 0.89% increase in state medicaid obligations over the baseline, that is, over what they otherwise pay. it will cost days 0.8 & more. i can take a few more. -- it will cost states 0.89% more. >> is there anything to affect this is an pavement in the medicaid bill for smart >> -- is there anything that would affect the scission payment? >> that is a key point of this bill and this has been lost in most of the national debate on health care reform. we have to begin to change the way that we are compensating providers in medicare and medicaid. we need to get away from paying on the basis of quantity and
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volume, and more toward paying on the basis of value and outcomes. and the more we can move down that road and more quickly we can move down that road, the more quickly we're going to not only reduce costs, which is an extremely important point, but also improve quality. it will improve quality. if you look at of the integrated systems in our country now, most folks know that this is the right approach and where we should be going in health care today. i do not care if it is kaiser or cleveland, is may go, intermountain, and billings clinic, where they are integrated, the doctor -- the provider and the ku, they are finding that the quality is increased significantly.
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costs are lower. we are building incentives in this bill to help groups evolve into integrated systems, and that will get at the question of medicaid reimbursement. this is going to take time and is not going to be accomplished overnight but i do believe firmly that this is probably the most transformative common game changing provision here. it will start to lower health- care costs and start the been the cost curves. there were other measures that will help that, but the underlying delivery system reforms is, i think, just a critical for our country. -- just so critical for our country. dollars what the need to do in terms of actual policy changes to get republicans on board? >> continuing to talk and work with, exploring, probing, cajoling, just being creative about it. this is probably one of the
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largest pieces of social legislation in american history since the depression. it affects everybody in our country. it affects everybody in many different ways. if -- it is comprehensive and complex. it just takes time to fully fathom, put the pieces together, to understand and then make a suggestion to make a better. i also believed as firmly that we have a moral obligation as americans to pass meaningful health care reform this year. all of us here are not going to be here forever. we have a moral obligation when we leave this place to leave it in as good ship-shape or better shape than we found it. each of us in this room and in this country has that moral obligation. and this is our opportunity, this is our moment to help fulfill that moral obligation for our kids and our grandkids to have something better than we now have. i began my statement by saying
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all the costs of inaction, they are just horrendous, the cost of inaction. we have got to get going. and i think most everybody has some sense that we have to do that, and the republican side of the aisle, they get that, too. this has a certain sense of inevitability. this is going to pass. more and more people are going to say, it might be the right thing to do, to make this effort, and this is probably too -- not too far off the track. so let me work and see what i can do to make this better. i really do believe that the end of the day there is going to be republican support for this bill. >> but actually policy changes? >> it is interesting. and i have said this several times, too. essentially and we debated this, we have met over 100 hours.
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there are no real policy deal breakers. it is about getting more comfortable with all of this. that is what this comes down to. working with it, helping senators around the country, getting republicans more comfortable with it. we also need to explain to the country with greater clarity so people have a better understanding and i say presumptive is wesley -- and as a presumptuous late that there will be higher comfort level. we're going to provide an opportunity for all americans have health insurance. there are millions of americans today level lousy health insurance. pre-existing conditions, denial based on health status, no limit on out-of-pocket costs,
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recisions, companies that put limits on coverage, how many dollars they will pay out. we are stopping all of that. just think of that for a moment. that is so important. that is why i do think at the end of the day we will get significant bipartisan support and we're going to pass it. thanks, everybody, very much. thank you. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] mr. mcconnell: mr. president, the debate over health care continues to be a top concern for most americans, but it's important to realize that this debate isn't taking place in a vacuum. it's taking place in the context of a nation that's increasingly concerned about the size and the scope of government. over the past year americans have seen the government take over automakers and insurance companies. they've seen government spend hundreds of billions of dollars to bail out banks and other financial institutions.
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they've seen government run up unprecedented debt. and now they see the government trying to take over health care. if the white house wants an explanation for all the unrest it's witnessing across the country, to all the worry and concerns that americans have about its health care plan, this is a crucial piece. democrats in washington may see all these government programs and interventions as separate, individual events. but to most americans who are weathering a recession, it seems like every time they pick up the newspaper or turn on the television, democrats in washington are pushing another $1 trillion bill or calling for more spending, more taxes and more debt. that's why people are becoming more vocal, and that's why they have been delivering a consistent message for weeks: no more government take overs, no more spending money we don't have, no more tax increases, and
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no more debt. americans are concerned about a government running their lives and ruining their livelihoods, and they don't get the sense that either the administration or democrats on capitol hill are listening. nowhere is this disconnect between the people and the politicians in washington more apparent than in the debate over health care. americans don't think a bigger role for the government in health care would improve the system. yet, despite this, every single proposal we've seen would lead to a vast expansion of the government's role in the health care system. it's not that the democrats in congress don't sense the public's unease about a new government plan for health care. i think they do. the primary reason some of them are backing away from proposals that include it. what some americans don't realize, however, is that even without a government plan -- even without a government plan -- the health care plans
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democrats are proposing would still vastly, vastly expand the government's role in our health care. and that's what i'd like to discuss in a little more detail this morning. let me list just a few examples of how government's role in health care would expand even without -- even without -- a government-run plan. even without a government plan, the proposals we've seen would force employers to pay a tax if they can't afford insurance for their employees. employers have warned that this provision would kill jobs. at a time when the nation's unemployment rate stands at a 25-year high of 9.7%, we should help businesses create jobs, not kill them. even without a government plan, these proposals would require all americans to choose only
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from health insurance plans with standards set by the government and would let government bureaucrats dictate what benefits are available to families. on this point, americans have been equally clear. people want more choice and competition in the health care market so they can pick a plan that would work for their family, not one dictated by politicians here in washington. yet, even without a government plan, that's what they'd get under the proposals we've seen. anyone who saw any of the town hall meetings last month know that this idea is about as popular as chicken pox. even without a government plan, these health care proposals would require states -- states -- to expand their medicaid program, something the senator from tennessee, who is here on the floor, has spoken about frequently. governors from both political
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parties have expressed serious concerns about the effect this particular proposal would have on their state budgets. they think these kinds of decisions should be left up to them -- the states -- not the federal government. and, frankly, so do most americans. even without a government plan, these health care proposals would impose new taxes on small businesses and on individuals. under the house bill, for example, taxes on some small businesses could rise as high as roughly 45%, a rate that's approximately 30% higher than the rate for big corporations. under the same house bill, the average combined federal and state top tax rate for some individuals would be about 52%. more than half of their paychecks. finally, the president has said that his plan won't require any americans to give up the health
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insurance they have and like. well, what about the 11 million seniors who are currently enrolled in medicare advantage? nearly 90% of whom say they're satisfied with it. this program has given seniors more options and more choices when it comes to their health care. yet, under the administration's plan, the government would make massive cuts to medicare advantage, forcing some seniors off this plan that so many of them have and like. when it comes to medicare advantage, democratic rhetoric just doesn't square with reality. let me sum it up. while getting rid of the government plan would be a good start, the democratic bills we've seen would still grant the government far, far too much control over the health care system. over the past few months americans have been saying they have had enough of spending, enough of debt and enough of government expansion. how are the democrats here in
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washington responding? by trying to rush through another trillion-dollar bill that americans don't even want and can't afford. the american people do want health care reform, not with more government but with less. they don't want a new government-run system. they want us to repair the system we've got. on all of these points, the american people are sending a clear and persistent message. it is time we in congress started to listen. mr. alexander: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee is recognized. mr. alexander: thank you. i congratulate the republican leader, the senator from kentucky, on his remarks. he made it very clear that we on the republican side of the aisle want health care reform, but our definition of that is a little different from that on the other side of the aisle. we want health care reform that reduces costs, costs to the american people when they buy health insurance, and costs of the government of the american
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people. and we do not want more debt and another washington takeover, which we're seeing so much of these days. president obama said in his address to us that he will -- quote -- "not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits either now or in the future. period." that's good. and as david brooks wrote in "the new york times" this past friday, "this sound bite of the president kills the house health care bill," because the house health care bill would add $220 billion to the deficit over the first ten years of its operation and another $1 trillion over the next ten years after that. the president's sound bite about the deficit would effectively knock out the bill passed by the senate health committee as well, because according to a letter from the congressional budget office to the ranking member of the senate health committee, senator enzi of wyoming, --
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quote -- "the ten-year cost of the coverage expansion of that bill to the federal government, including such a change in medicaid eligibility, would probably exceed $1 trillion." so that's off the table. and there appears to be growing bipartisan concern about a health care bill that might add to the debt. senator warner of virginia said on monday -- quote -- "my feeling is, health care reform can't just be paid for in a 10-year window. it has to be paid for in the out years as well." that's washingtonspeak for over the long-term. he says, "this is so much bigger than health care. it goes to the deficit t goes right to the heart of our competitiveness." that's senator warner of virginia. i couldn't agree more. all of the health care reform bills produced so far by the democratic congress, either in the senate or in the house,
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flunk the first test, which is reducing cost, cost to the american people and cost to the american government. in july, the congressional budget office director, douglas elmendorf, said the house bill and the senate health bill did not -- quote -- "propose the fundamental changes that would be necessary to reduce the trajectory of federal health spending by a significant amount." unquote. additionally, the congressional budget office has indicated that the house bill would result in a net increase in the federal budget deficit of $230 billion over ten years. this likely is a low-ball estimate because it assumes that congress will increase taxes by $583 billion over the next 10 years. so, mr. president, if we're going to implement health care reform without increasing our debt, how are we going to pay for it? who is going to pay for it, is
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the more precise question. here are some of the answers that have been proposed so far by the democratic side of the aisle. number one: grandma's medicare is going to pay for it. the bills and the president's own plan, which we've yet to see the details of, propose -- quote -- "medicare savings," nice words for "medicare cuts." if there really is a $5 billio00 billion savings to be found in medicare, we should use it to keep medicare solvent because the trustees of medicare say we are now spending at such a rapid rate that we'll run out of money for medicare by 2017. we should not use medicare cuts to pay for a new medicare -- to pay for a new government program. we should use any medicare savings to make medicare
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stronger. now, the second way to pay the bill -- for these bills that we've been seeing in the house and senate -- is to shift the cost to the states. this is done by expanding the medicaid program, which is the largest government-run program we have today. almost 60 million americans, low-income americans, have their health care from the medicaid program, which is paid for -- about 60% by the federal government and about 40% by the states. the plans we've been hearing about have the federal government expanding medicare -- medicaid coverage. this is the state plan i was talking about. expanding medicaid coverage from 60 million to 80 million or 90 million people. and after a few years asking the states to pick up their additional share of the cost of that expansion. according to the national governors' association,
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expanding medicaid to 133% of the federal poverty level would cost the states an additional $331 billion a year. and although details are still lacking -- we may find out more today about the proposals from the senate finance committee -- the governor of tennessee, the democratic governor bresden, said on friday that he's concerned about the plan being proposed by senator baucus and that his guess was that it might cost our state as much as $600 million to $700 million per year. now, mr. president, in washington that doesn't sound like a lot of money. in tennessee, that's a lot of money. we had a big fight a few years ago over whether to have a new state income tax. we don't now have one. and our former governor didn't succeed on that. people got very upset about it. that would only have raised about $400 million. but this is an increase of $600
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million or $700 million that would after a few years be shifted to the states. and that's not all. since states only reimburse doctors and hospitals, for about 60% of their cost of serving the 60 million patients on medicaid, these expansion proposals of medicaid usually also require states to increase reimbursements to doctors and hospitals. increasing that would basically don't the increase -- double the increased cost to states. you can see why earlier in the debate many of the governors, including many of the democratic governors of this country, objected to this proposal, and gov. bredesen called those proposals the mother of all unfunded mandates. we know where unfunded mandates
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lead in our state, and that is higher state taxes. in addition to cutting medicare and increasing state taxes by expanding medicaid, the bills we have seen asks small businesses to help pay the bill through employer mandates and fine. the senate hel committeep bills , firms with more than 25 workers have to pay more new taxes for seven under $50 for full-time employees and $375 for part-time employees. the house bill will impose over $200 billion in fines on businesses who cannot afford to do that. and there is another consequence. if you like your health care plan, you can keep it, says the president. what he does not go on to say is that if we create this government plan, and if we require employers to pay $750 per employee and $375 or a part-
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time employee, many employers are going elected that and say it is much cheaper for me to pay $750 or three and $75 for an employee, so i will just paid the government of fine and let the government plan offer health care to my employees. it is estimated by most groups that have looked at the plans we have seen, a combination of the government planned and an employer tax will and resolve -- will result in millions of americans if losing their employer-provided health care insurance. have health care insurance. that's why governor rockefeller, a democratic senator from west virginia, is quoted as saying today that the bill coming out of the finance committee, which we really haven't seen yet, has a big, big tax, according to governor rockefeller -- senator rockefeller on coal miners, on
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the middle class. so we're barking up the wrong tree, mr. president. this debate health care should be about reducing cost. that should be the first goal of what we mean when we say the words "health care reform." reducing the cost to individuals and families and small businesses who are buying health care plans and paying for insurance. that's 250 million individuals in the country today. and reducing the cost to the government in higher health care spending. that is why republicans have suggested that we should start over. a lot of good work has been done. a great many of us understand much better this complex subject we're dealing with. there's no embarrassment in saying we've gotten to this point. we're headed in the wrong direction. the mayo clinic, the democratic governors, the congressional budget office, the millions of americans in town meetings are
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sarge a headed in the -- are saying you're headed in the wrong direction. we say, okay, let's start over. and how should we start over? instead of passing 1,000-page bills that add to the debt and increase costs, we should work step by step to reira reearn tht of the american people. the era of 1,000-page bills is over. smaller steps in the right direction is still a very good way to get to where we want to go. and there are some steps we can take, some things we can do to lower costs. for example, allowing small businesses to pool and reduce health care costs by putting their resources together would increase accessibility for small business owners, unions, associations, and their workers, members, and families to health care. this legislation has already
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been considered in the senate and the 0 house. iters a nearlit's nearly ready to pass. estimates are that passio passia small business health insurance plan would allow them to offer coverage to a million more americans. number two, reform medical malpractice laws so runaway junk lawsuits don't continue to drive up the cost of health care. the president mentioned that the other night in his remarks. i congratulate him for that, but we should do even more than he suggested. we have 95 counties in tennessee, and in 60 of them we don't have an ob-gyn doctor because they won't practice there anymore. their medical malpractice insurance premiums are too high. over $100,000. and so pregnant women have to drive a long ways, to memphis, to nashville, other big cities, for their prenatal health care or to have their babies. that's a way to lower costs.
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reduce junk lawsuits. there's some disagreement about how much cost that saves. but there's no disagreement that junk lawsuits contribute to higher medical costs. number three, allow individual americans the ability to purchase health insurance across state lines. as a former governor, i jealously protect the states' rights. i like for states to have responsibilities, but i think in terms of health care that we should allow more purchase of policies across state lines, just as people do with car insurance today. there is a third way to take a step toward health care reform that actually begins to lower cost. fourth, we don't have to pass a new bill in order to e insure me americans. about 20% of the uninsured americans, maybe 10 million or 11 million, are already eligible for existing programs such as medicaid and the children's health insurance program. they're not enrolled.
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we should sign them up. number five, we could create health insurance exchanges. i hear that from the democratic side. i hear it from the republican side. these are marketplaces in each state so that individuals and businesses can shop around and find a cheaper and better source of health insurance. then all of us have talked about encouraging health information technology, which the general accounting office has said -- quote -- "can improve the efficiency and quality of medical care and results in cost savings" -- unquote. so, i have suggested six areas here that we could work on together to reduce cost. mr. president, we have forgotten in this health care debate what we set out to do. the first goal of health care reform is to reduce cost. the cost of health care to americans, to american businesses, and the cost to americans of their government,
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which is spiraling out of control in debt because of the cost of health care. we are spending 17% of everything we produce in this country, and we produce 25% of all the wealth in the world year in and year out, on health care -- twice as much on health care as a percentage as most industrialized countries. if we don't reduce cost, we will bankrupt the government and make health care unaffordable for most americans. so, mr. president, the president of the united states was right to say that he'll not sign a bill that increases the deficit, since that eliminates all of the legislation that the democratic congress has produced so far, i hope that we will now take republican advice and start over and get it right. and a good way
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a good way to begin would be for a president to send health care reform bill that does not add to the debt and began step-by-step to reduce costs to the american people and to the american government, and by taking those steps, we can relearn the trust of the american people. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor and i notice the absence of a quorum. >> the health care bill announced by senator baucus would establish safe -- state- mills -- state-based co-ops, tax credits for low-income individuals, expand medicaid eligibility, and have a total cost of $856 billion. the finance committee is scheduled to begin working on the bill next tuesday. you can read a draft of the bill online at [unintelligible]
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in a few moments, president obama meets with a minute -- canadian prime minister stephen harper. in about 50 minutes, fbi director robert mueller talks about the bureau's role in fighting terrorism. and after that, we talk with the mayor of seattle about climate change. president, said no decisions have been made about sending more troops to afghanistan. that decision, he said, will be made after strategy deliberations. those comments came after a meeting with canadian prime minister stephen harper. this is 15 minutes. >> hello, everybody.
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prime minister harper and i have had a conversation exploring the friendship and bond between the american and canadian people. we discussed both our bilateral or blood -- relationship on issues of energy, our borders, issues of trade, and how we can continue to strengthen the already excellent relations that we have. we also discussed the range of international issues. obviously we have been partnering with canada on improving the global economy. we both agree that, although we're not out of the woods yet, we are seeing signs of stability and that both canada and the united states are on the path to a positive economic growth. we both agreed that coordination still needs to continue at the international level and are looking for to the g-20, where we can both discuss
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how to sustain efforts, to kickstart the economy and also make sure that we are looking at exit strategy is and what i sustainable growth will look like long term. we've had discussions about some of the international threats that continue to exist out there. we discussed climate change and preparations for the copenhagen conference. afghanistan, and the need for us to move forward in a clear direction over the next several years. and the situation with iran, and the potential development of weapons and how we respond to the potential development of nuclear weapons in iran. so overall i want to publicly thank the prime minister harbor -- prime minister harper for
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being a friend of the united states. we appreciate his excellent work and we very much appreciate the canadian people. we're looking forward to seeing them next week in but the united nations context and the g-20. >> once again, we discussed three major subjects. first of all, the economy. the recovery is happening but it is fragile and we really must redouble our efforts to apply stimulus measures and get those out the door as we do in canada to make sure that we continue to fix internationally problems of financial institutions. and another of the president's speech in wall street was an important message to everyone. we're planning for the g-20 and looking forward to that. i think that as well in hand and we will have a useful and productive meeting there. we discussed some of these
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issues that arise in our trade relationship. i wanted to mention the question of the chartered flights, the nhl chartered flights, some difficulty in recent months. we think we're very close to resolving that in the next little while. we have a tentative agreement in principle and we're working to finalize that in the next few days. we discussed energy security and climate change. i remind all of our american friends that canada is by far the largest supplier of energy to the united states, and we are determined to be a continental partner in dealing with the joint -- with the very length the problems of climate change, energy, and security. our ministers have provided as a report on the clean energy dialogue which i think shows some great progress in identifying areas of joint action, and the next that will be some specific projects that
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we can pursue. today canada is announcing a major hydroelectric projects with a big transmission line in northwestern british columbia which down the road will be part of a more integrated north american hydroelectric system that will obviously be a part of dealing with both of these problems of energy security and climate change. and as i have said, we discussed international peace and security and the great challenge the world has with iran. but we also discussed afghanistan. we have a joint mission there and we certainly very much welcome the new -- renewed engagement of the united states in that country. particularly in our sector of the country, and we always value to cooperation with united states on defense and security matters and our to militaries and our civilian people were and our civilian people were tremendously together in


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